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'She loved the village and she loved the trees'

Marie Havenga • Oct 26, 2018 at 7:00 AM

SPRING LAKE — You could say they honored her roots when the village dedicated the Victoria Verplank Tree Nursery on Thursday.

About 40 people attended the dedication of the village’s nursery, which is located off State Road on Spring Lake Country Club property.

Members of the Verplank family, Village Council and village staff, Spring Lake Rotary Club, and the community were on hand to unveil a large boulder with a plaque and inscription honoring Verplank, who died four years ago at the age of 69.

Following the dedication, attendees planted trees in Verplank's honor.

Verplank, a former Village Council member and president, always held a deep-rooted passion for trees and beautifying the community.

“I think she would certainly appreciate the tree planting and would be humbled by the dedication and signage,” said Verplank's son, Kyle, also a former Village Council member. “You know those old postcards of Spring Lake? It was always her vision to create a tunnel of trees like that. She wanted what the village was to someday become again.”

Following the dedication, the Verplank family gathered around the boulder for photos.

Gary Verplank, Victoria's husband, said he appreciates everyone's efforts and also the country club for providing space for the tree nursery.

“I'm thrilled the village is recognizing what she did,” he said. “She loved the village and she loved the trees. She was obviously very involved with the tree program. It was always a passion. Long term, we're going to see trees in the village, hopefully forever.”

The village spends about $38,000 each year on arborist services, including tree trimming, removal, tree purchases and planting. Village leaders thought it would be financially prudent to grow their own trees instead of buying large trees.

The original village tree nursery at Central Park's dog park was located directly under power transmission lines, a dangerous spot as the trees grew. In 2016, the country club offered the village use of the property off State Road for a new nursery. The country club installed irrigation and the village public works staff prepped the site and planted trees.

This is the first year the village has been able to move trees from the new nursery to their permanent location within the rights of way throughout the village.

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